Friday 5 April 2019

An alternative vision for Granville and Carlton. Response from Brent Council awaited.

This is the 'alternative vision for Carlton Granville' that was mentioned at the Scrutiny Committee hearing. Leslie and Deidre have certainly done their homework!

An alternative vision for Granville and Carlton


Granville Community Kitchen and The Otherwise Club are proposing an alternative vision for the Granville/Carlton site. The site will be the central non-denominational community hub for South Kilburn, that meets the social, educational and wellbeing needs of residents, managed by an (alliance or consortium) of South Kilburn residents, groups and organisations.
The development of such an organisation is more in line with the vision promoted in the Localities Act 2012. It is based on respect, equity and partnerships that is truly representative and inclusive of the community. An organisation where all the stakeholders have an equal say in what goes on and how the site is run through dialogue, democratic decision-making and mutual support. It is a vision where stakeholders have the commitment and determination to make it the best place to deliver all the services that South Kilburn needs and deserve, and to preserve the heritage of the buildings and provide a legacy.

A community consortium

A community led consortium consisting of all the site’s stakeholders, some local resident positions and other local organisations such as Global Skills Centre, Canvas Arts and other unconstituted groups would be responsible for the management of Granville/Carlton and service provision. This includes public liability, licences, maintenance, health and safety , marketing, accessibility and other areas of responsibility that go with running a public asset.
This would take financial pressure off the Council to maintain the site and to deliver services. Due to its diverse makeup it will be able to offer a range of services responsive to local needs. Given the densification of the area and the loss of community spaces locally, community space is even more vital. Granville/Carlton is unique in its size and ideally located and suited to deliver wraparound services as a community hub.The Granville/Carlton buildings were originally separate although side by side but now need to be considered as one site. 
The site has historically always been used for community, education and social welfare. These buildings have since their inception been used by the people of South Kilburn as places of refuge, first as a school and then as an adult education centre and community centres. It is envisaged that these would be the continued purpose of the site for the new organisation. The object of this proposition is to secure the Granville/Carlton site and attendant buildings for the people of South Kilburn for perpetuity. To do this we need to create a legal instrument, a new organisation that will be community-led, including current stakeholders to hold and manage the site and buildings. This organisation will develop a business plan that will enable it to run and maintain the site and buildings. We would establish a Granville Carlton Alliance run by the community to oversee these buildings for the community in perpetuity. This would be a self financing organisation which is viable, credible, transparent and accountable to the South Kilburn community.

Building use

The building will retained as existing and the largest spaces reinstated as community halls. During the Youth and Community Service time the building was self financing through rental of the halls.  This is the sustainable heart of the both financially and socially. Retaining and upgrading the buildings with suitable technologies is more environmentally sustainable than the present plans. The section of Granville built in 2005 that is still perfectly fit for purpose with happy tenants. We would not build housing on 2/3 of the Granville building and site going against cabinet promises made to safeguard Carlton and Granville in 2016. 
We would return the Granville hall to its rightful place as the centrepiece of these buildings. We would ensure the use of these buildings to support a community to feel proud about itself and glad to be a part of. To further the important work of the South Kilburn Trust they would move to The Carlton, Centre, a building much better suited architecturally, and a community cafe would be reinstated there.
This project will have an enormous beneficial impact on the local economy and community cohesion. Already it has provided a positive focus for residents. Leslie Barson and Deirdre Woods are well known in the area. With their long term work, track record of community led project development and excellent connections in various parts of the community, in London and further afield are both well placed to carry this work forward.

Proposal summary

To make this possible local organisations will come together in a consortium. To do this we will secure professional help from consultants to:
1.   Support the development of a legal entity that puts local voices in the lead based in the community to drive the project forward and manage it once it is up and running.
2.   Develop a business plan to plan infrastructure funding and move forward toward securing the buildings on a permanent basis from the council.
3.   Develop a detailed strategy and financial plan for management of the site, including a reconfiguration of existing business and community hub provision.
4.   Provide forums and other mechanisms for meaningful involvement of the community on a long term basis. Identify barriers to participation and address them, such as childcare.
All of this is developed with meaningful participatory processes including the residents and local community at every stage.

Short to medium term future

The Granville hall is the heart of the site emotionally, and central to a viable financial plan. To reinstate its use as a grand hall again is a key part of the vision. Refurbishment with double glazing, air conditioning and sound insulation will be necessary to ensure that its use will not impact on residents living on Granville Road.
All the other GLA funded changes to the building would remain as is.
The basement would revert to community use including designated space for Global Skills a project central to South Kilburn education.
The kitchen would be upgraded to make it more suitable for its core use as a community kitchen providing education, training and food provision for those in household food insecurity.  This has been costed at £70,000.
The South Kilburn Trust would move into The Carlton Centre, which will be developed as an enterprise hub with more space for those activities and a café in the space on the ground floor.
The nursery would get more spaces into Carlton to be negotiated.


Development and management will be self funded through grants, donations, crowdfunding and income generation streams.

Costings for first stage development we have been quoted are

£5000 will provide an initial outline scoping study moving towards what is needed for the project£40000 to cover the cost of consultancy fees providing an in depth feasibility study with costs and action depending on the conclusions the study suggests.£80-100,000  will allow us to employ building professionals including engineers and quantity surveyors to develop refurbishment plans to maximise use of site  and provide a detailed business plan

Next Steps

We would seek council approval after presenting the feasibility study to move the project forward. Shared Assets, Locality and The Architectural Heritage Fund have all been approached and are able to support us us in developing a strategic plan and with organisational development.
With regard to participatory processes we are working with and have long term relationships with various universities. Open University, Centre for Agroecology and Water Resilience (CAWR) who have can support on participatory methodologies and University College London (UCL) on planning and architecture.  We have also worked with Glasshouse Community Led Design who specialise in community led processes and the built environment, Ubele who support African and Caribbean heritage communities and organisations around business and community development and action planning.

Leslie Barson and Deirdre Woods

March 2019
 It would be good to hear the Council's response. I would be happy to publish it. MF

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